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Greatest Teacher

I understand now

Why those wiser

Than I have said,

The one who causes you the

Most distress is

Your greatest teacher.

I resisted, at first.

New-age, hippy



Fuck you, Pema (1).

You didn’t even

Raise your own children—

True story.

As I sit

Bearing witness, feeling

The intensity of our conflict

Inside this body,

I’m in awe

Of what it means

To be alive.

But still,

To the divine

I retort:

“You're fucking welcome.”


“Are you entertained?”

And, once I've exhausted

My smallness,

My ordinary human


“Thank you.”

Struck still and


Now I’m holding

This breath


Thoughtless appreciation—

For the depth of love,

And pain,

And grief,

That’s possible.


And contained

Within the bounds

Of this body.

(1) Reference to Pema Chodron, a well-known Western Buddhist teacher and author of popular spiritual and self-help books, most notably, When Things Fall Apart.

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